Justine Jagielski, HCC 2004 Criminal Justice Technology graduate and SGA President, was awarded the Combat Medical Badge for assisting medics with wounded and dead soldiers during a rocket attack on her forward operating base near Baghdad. The badge recognizes the service of medical personnel. Justine is serving as a lab technician with the Army's Charlie Company 203rd Brigade Support Battalion.
She accompanied two medics on the "hero flight mission" to deliver the body of the dead soldier to be airlifted out of the base. "The whole drive down, there were soldiers saluting him as we passed," she said in an article in The Sylva Herald and Ruralite on August 9. 2007. "Everything stopped on our FOB. They were all outside to salute him. When we got to the helipad, there was a mass of soldiers everywhere in different formations. I rode in the back of the ambulance with him. They opened the door and there were litter bearers that marched up and took him off the vehicle. The colonel called everyone to salute him as they carried him to the helicopter. We all saluted him as he flew away. Not one person moved as the helicopter kicked up so much sand and dust you couldn't see 6 inches in front of you. It was so nice - the honor - and very sad at the same time. I will never forget that day. It also helps me remember why we are here: to make sure our soldiers are healthy and stay alive to fight another day."